McCall’s 7446 Tank Top and Self Drafted Cycling Shorts

McCalls 7446 tank top

Recently I drafted a pair of cycling bib shorts and have found them so great to wear. They have become my favourites and wear them in preference to the elastic waist type shorts. That’s my excuse to make another pair and a tank top to wear with them.

These were made for PR’s mini-wardrobe contest but I didn’t get around to writing the review in time 🙂  Oh well, better late than never.


For the shorts, I tweaked the pattern slightly to add a bit more ‘sitting curve’ to the leg shape. It makes them a slightly more baggy under the bum when I’m standing, but the extra room is better on the bike. With this pair, I played round with seam finishes to get a decorative flatlock look using just the sewing machine. I tried a few different stitches, looking for something that would show the contrast thread colour well, but still keep both the stretch and recovery of the fabric.

The process I used was as follows:

1. Mark seam allowances and trim seam allowance of top layer

2. Pin the layers, butting the trimmed edge to the marked seam allowance of the other piece

3. Stitch so that the stitching extends just beyond the cut edge

4. Trim away the excess seam allowance from the lower piece of fabric

5. Finished seam

For these couple of photos I’ve worn the bib section over the tank top just so you can get an idea of how it sits. Apologies for the blurry photos.

Self drafted cycling bib shorts

Self drafted cycling bib shorts

McCall’s 7446 Tank

I made this pattern up last year using a border print.  One of the things I liked about the pattern was the side panels and that it had reasonable coverage across the back for a racerback style.  I mainly chose this pattern to work with again because I wanted to use bikini bra-cup panel to add a bit of interest to the tank.  The panel has 12 pairs printed on it.

swim bra cup panel

What sounds like a simple thing was actually a bit harder to achieve.  The panels weren’t quite wide enough in places, or that big flower hit at the wrong place.  I played around with moving the design to the back, but much of the interesting colour sections would end up being cut off.  I played with different orientations; up, down, sideways, adding extra seams.

After a week of procrastination, this was the final layout I settled on.  By adding the zipper to the centre front and widening the side panel just slightly, there was enough width to the lower seam of the front panel and still keep the big flower above the bustline.  I then used a second pair of panels to add the extra height  up the the shoulders.

Front panels

Second panel used to extend to shoulder seam

I also altered the back slightly to be wider across the back so that the bib didn’t show underneath it.

When I first made this pattern, I noted that the elastic guides were too short for the armholes and neckline.  I didn’t use the guide this time, just using a continuous piece of elastic and putting a slight pull on it as I stitched it in (similar to doing bra elastics).  The edges are finished with clear swimwear elastic, so I can also wear this over togs or with boardshorts.  For that reason, I didn’t include back pockets like I usually would do for a cycling jersey.  The side panels on this pattern would make it fairly easy to add back pockets.

McCalls 7446 tank top with added zip front

the finished kit

  1. Fabulous improvements. I am nowhere close to being able to envision these types of hacks yet, but you are an inspiration. Lovely kit!

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    1. Thanks Becky. The panels turned out to be a bit more tricky to fit to the pattern than I thought. I’d originally planned to use them on the cuffs of leggings.

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  2. Ruthie Critchley 17 October, 2018 at 5:25 pm

    Beautifully done!

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  3. Great looking kit and very interesting how you managed the decortative stitching and the pattern placement (with perfect pattern matching for your top.

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